'Saders don't look special; Air Force still in perfect form.


Byline: Steve Kendall

WORCESTER - Heading into this weekend's two-game series with Air Force, Holy Cross hockey coach Paul Pearl knew special teams were likely to play a big role in determining a winner.

Air Force's special teams took center stage last night, scoring a pair of second-period goals and killing off a five-on-three for two minutes as the Falcons knocked off the Crusaders, 5-1, at the Hart Center.

"Any time you can come in here and get four points, you have to be thrilled," Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. "Holy Cross always plays good hockey and always plays great at home. These were two important wins for our team."

With the win, 13th-ranked Air Force swept the series with the Crusaders and improved to 10-0 overall, 8-0 in Atlantic Hockey. Holy Cross fell to 2-6-1, 2-5-1.

Sean Bertsch, Brett Nylander, Matt Fairchild, Josh Frider and Blake Page scored for the Falcons, who remain the only Division 1 team with an unblemished record. Andrew Volkening, who blanked the Crusaders Friday night, again showed why he's one of the top goaltenders in the country, turning aside 25 shots. The senior lowered his goals-against average to 1.30 and raised his save percentage to .943.

Ryan Driscoll netted his third goal of the season for Holy Cross, while Adam Roy made 39 saves.

"We've had a tough run - we've played the top three teams in our conference the last three weeks (RIT, Mercyhurst, Air Force) and we aren't there yet," Pearl said. "Our young guys need to keep maturing, and playing in tough games against teams like Air Force will hopefully make that process quicker. We basically just need to get better and we will, as long as we keep working like we have."

Air Force came in with the second-ranked power play and 14th-ranked penalty kill in the nation, and both were on full display in the second period. Nylander and Fairchild scored power-play goals just 3:42 apart midway through the period as Air Force broke open a tie game.

Just over a minute later...

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